Family owned business West Australian Alternative Energy designed and engineered the 105 kilowatt Tesla battery being used in a world-first community energy trial in Mandurah. Fifty-two households have signed up to the “game-changing” trial to integrate bulk battery storage into the existing grid. The project will allow participants to virtually store excess power they generate during the day from their solar PV systems in the battery, and then draw down on that power during the peak evening period. Those households will be allocated a maximum of eight kilowatt-hours of virtual storage at the cost of $1 per day.
Busselton-based WA Alternative Energy owner Simon Barclay said his company was contracted to design and engineer the battery and connect it to the network. Rather than individual households having their own battery to store power, excess power is fed into a community battery which can be used by connected households. Mr Barclay said it was cheaper to have a collective battery managed by a utility company rather than everyone buying their own individual battery.
“Households export their solar energy during the day which is stored in the battery, then when they come home from work they draw out of the battery, and there is a financial benefit for using that battery,” he said. “This is a world first for a community battery, and we are just at the start now of the second phase of the renewable energy revolution.”
Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said PowerBank was a more cost-efficient way of managing the growth in residential solar instead of traditional infrastructure spends like substation or transformer upgrades. “It is also currently a cheaper and a far better community solution to hundreds or thousands of behind the meter individual household batteries,” he said.
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said the battery storage trial was an innovative solution that would enable households to meet more of their energy needs from renewable energy. “By coupling solar energy with modern battery technology, we can be well on the way to making polluting and expensive fossil fuels like coal and gas redundant here in WA,” he said. “This is exactly the combination of technology that we need to be embracing here in WA to cut carbon pollution, reduce energy costs and create the new jobs of the future.”